Don’t Heed the Appeals of Trump’s Apologists

Businessman Donald Trump gestures while making a speech in Fountain Hills, Arizona, March 19
Businessman Donald Trump gestures while making a speech in Fountain Hills, Arizona, March 19 (Gage Skidmore)

After Donald Trump’s victory in the Indiana primary on Tuesday night, and Ted Cruz’ exit from the nominating contest, the chorus of mainstream Republicans calling on the party to accept the former television personality as its presidential candidate has grown louder.

“Donald Trump will be presumptive nominee,” wrote Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, on Twitter. “We all need to unite and focus on defeating Hillary Clinton,” his likely Democratic opponent.

Priebus later said Trump represents “something different and something new” and that “is probably good for our party.”

Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and a lion of the Christian right, called on Republicans to “unite in defeating Hillary and abandoning and repudiating the hapless ‘Never Trump’ nonsense.”

They won’t be the last. Read more “Don’t Heed the Appeals of Trump’s Apologists”

Trump Seeks Validation for America — And Himself

Businessman Donald Trump makes a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump makes a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015 (Michael Vadon)

Donald Trump put some flesh on the bones of his “America first” foreign policy on Wednesday, but he did little to persuade skeptics that he has really thought though how to engage with the rest of the world as president.

Trump, a property mogul and former television personality who is leading in the Republican Party’s presidential contest, called for policy that “replaces randomness with purpose, ideology with strategy and chaos with peace.”

Little of what he said next lived up to that promise. Read more “Trump Seeks Validation for America — And Himself”

Clinton, Trump Dominate Northeastern Primaries

Former American secretary of state Hillary Clinton makes a speech in Chicago, Illinois, March 14
Former American secretary of state Hillary Clinton makes a speech in Chicago, Illinois, March 14 (Hillary for America/Barbara Kinney)

Five presidential primaries in the Northeastern United States on Tuesday put Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump closer to winning their parties’ presidential nominations.

The former secretary of state and presumptive Democratic nominee won at least 194 delegates against 129 for her socialist rival, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.

Counting so-called superdelegates (party officials), that gives Clinton 2,141 of the 2,383 delegates needed to win the nomination. With 1,303 delegates at stake in the remaining primaries, it is starting to become mathematically impossible for Sanders to eke out a victory. Read more “Clinton, Trump Dominate Northeastern Primaries”

Clinton, Trump Triumph in New York Primaries

Former American secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York attend a political event in New York City, April 4
Former American secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York attend a political event in New York City, April 4 (Hillary for America/Barbara Kinney)

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries, respectively, in New York on Tuesday, making a Clinton-Trump contest in November more likely.

Clinton’s win was less overwhelming than Trump’s. She got nearly 58 percent support in the state she once represented in the United States Senate against 42 percent for her socialist rival, Bernie Sanders.

But in terms of delegates, Clinton is now so far ahead of Sanders that it is almost impossible for him to catch up.

Including so-called superdelegates (party officials), Clinton already has 1,930 out of the 2,383 delegates needed to win the nomination, according to the Associated Press.

By NBC News’ count, Sanders would need to win 59 percent of the remaining regular delegates to win a majority of them. And then he would still need to persuade a majority of superdelegates to vote for him at the convention. Neither seems likely. Read more “Clinton, Trump Triumph in New York Primaries”

Why the Rules Matter and Why They Don’t

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio talk during a commercial break in a debate televised by CBS News from Greenville, South Carolina, February 13
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio talk during a commercial break in a debate televised by CBS News from Greenville, South Carolina, February 13 (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

We argued a few days ago that Donald Trump’s complaints about the Republican Party’s nominating rules being unfair to him are a bit rich. If only because he has benefited more than anyone running for president this year from lopsided delegate-allocation rules.

The New Yorker won 46 percent of the votes in Florida, for example, but got all the state’s 99 delegates.

In all, Trump has won only 37 percent of Republican primary votes yet 46 percent of the delegates allocated so far are pledged to support him on the convention’s first ballot. (Take a look at Harry Enten’s latest at FiveThirtyEight for a detailed overview.)

He is only crying foul now that the rules are no longer working in his favor, for example in Colorado, where his closest rival, Ted Cruz, won all available 34 delegates at local party conventions this weekend. Read more “Why the Rules Matter and Why They Don’t”

Trump Criticizes Rules That Have Helped Him So Far

Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

Poor Donald Trump. The self-professed dealmaker of the century appears to have only just found out that closing the deal with Republican primary voters is going to require more than him winning a plurality of the vote.

The New Yorker’s closest rival, Texas senator Ted Cruz, won all of the 34 delegates available at state and local conventions held in Colorado this weekend. His campaign and that of the third man running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, John Kasich, have also been able to place dozens of loyalists into delegate slots in Iowa, Michigan and South Carolina recently.

Those delegates could defect if Trump doesn’t get the support of a majority of 1,237 delegates at the nominating convention in Cleveland this summer. Read more “Trump Criticizes Rules That Have Helped Him So Far”

Trump’s Supporters Want to Be Told What to Do

Businessman Donald Trump makes a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump makes a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015 (Michael Vadon)

This website argued in January that Donald Trump’s supporters tend to be Americans who have been on the losing side of major economic and social battles and want a strong hand to set things right.

A Quinnipiac University survey released on Tuesday backs this up.

As reported by the Brookings Institution’s William A. Galston, the vast majority of Trump’s supporters feel they have been falling behind economically. 80 percent say the government has done too much to help minorities (as opposed to them). 91 percent agree with the statement, “My beliefs and values are under attack in America these days.”

The first sentiment is not altogether wrong. Trump’s supporters tend to be low-educated and working-class. They are the sort of people whose jobs get displaced when companies outsource manufacturing to Mexico or Vietnam.

The second sentiment helps explain why so many Republicans have been flummoxed by the businessman’s success in their presidential primary. Ideologically opposed to big government, they are shocked to find that a sizable minority of right-wing voters are perfectly fine with government largesse — so long as it benefits their own tribe.

The third part, about beliefs and values, goes to the argument we made, which is that these voters have lost ever major political argument of the last twenty years, whether it is feminism or gay rights or free trade or globalization, and have yet to come to terms with that. Read more “Trump’s Supporters Want to Be Told What to Do”

New York Looms After Cruz Victory in Wisconsin

Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26, 2015
Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

Ted Cruz may have succeeded in denying his rival for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, Donald Trump, a clear path to victory on Tuesday when he won the primary election in Wisconsin. But the nominating contest now moves to territory that looks more favorable to Trump, including his home state of New York.

Cruz got 48 percent support from Republican voters in Wisconsin against 35 percent for Trump. His victory in the delegate count, however, was overwhelming: the Texan got 36 out of 42 delegates, by the Association Press’ count, helped by rules that give more delegates to the winner in each congressional district.

It may seem small beer compared to the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination. But Trump now needs to win 58 percent of the remaining delegates to get to a majority, according to NBC News, up from 56 percent before the Wisconsin primary.

But if Trump wins all of New York’s 95 delegates in two weeks, that 58 percent goes down to a more manageable 53 percent. And Trump is currently polling above the 50 percent support needed to trigger the New York primary’s winner-takes-all bonus.

Some of the industrial states that vote in May, including Indiana and West Virginia, may also be more friendly to Trump, whose nationalism appeals to white working-class voters, than Cruz, a staunch social conservative who is more popular on the Christian right. Read more “New York Looms After Cruz Victory in Wisconsin”

Unloved Clinton Would Defeat Despised Trump

Former American secretary of state Hillary Clinton prepares to make a speech in Boston, Massachusetts, February 29
Former American secretary of state Hillary Clinton prepares to make a speech in Boston, Massachusetts, February 29 (Hillary for America/Barbara Kinney)

Whatever else can be said about the relative virtues of the two Democratic candidates running in the presidential primary election, the party should consider itself fortunate that the Republicans are about to nominate Donald Trump.

HuffPost Pollster, which aggregates favorability polls to provide a more holistic outlook, has Clinton’s favorability rating at -12.7. Trump’s net favorability is at -29.5.

Clinton’s rival, Bernie Sanders, by comparison, enjoys a net favorability of +11.1, alone among all candidates but John Kasich in being in positive territory.

According to CBS, both Clinton and Trump are viewed more unfavorably than any major-party frontrunner in polling history. Read more “Unloved Clinton Would Defeat Despised Trump”